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Taiwan Cardinal says SARS brings "new Lent"

Cardinal Paul Shan of Taipei has told his constituency in a pastoral letter that they are "living a new Lent" with their struggle against the SARS epidemic.

Shan, who is president of the Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference, pointed out that the word "quarantine" refers to "a pause or period of isolation of 40 days."

During that period - as in Lent - "freedom is limited, life is difficult," he said. And just as the people of Taiwan observe the quarantine to avoid passing along the SARS virus, Christian limit themselves in Lent to counteract the "virus" of sin.

As SARS forces new restraints on activities, therefore, the cardinal encouraged believes to "once again have the spirit of Lent", and thus gain spiritual benefits from their struggles.

Cardinal Shan's pastoral letter urges Christians to comply fully with public-health restrictions. He also asks believers to examine their consciences, practicing fast and abstinence, and praying fervently while the epidemic lasts.

He encourages them to maintain their hope for the future, because "after the darkness there will be light."

Catholic World News/UCAN News

Hong Kong Bishop says Govt exploiting SARS to legislate for crackdown (9/5/03)
Quarantined hospital staff in Taiwan scared over SARS, says nurse (Catholic News Service)
Mongolian Catholics required to wear masks to Mass (3/5/03)

4 Jun 2003